WGN sports host David Kaplan leaving for ESPN 1000 – Chicago Tribune
Longtime WGN-AM 720 sports host David Kaplan is leaving the station to join rival ESPN-owned WMVP-AM 1000, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Kaplan, who started at WGN Radio in 1995, agreed to a multi-year deal to stay with the station in December 2013. But his duties, and the station’s direction, shifted this year with the loss of Cubs games and the demise of The Game, WGN’s ill-fated one-year foray into FM sports talk radio.
Kaplan most recently worked with Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh.
The “Kap & Haugh” show, which aired 9 a.m. to noon on 87.7 FM, continued to run online and on Comcast SportsNet Chicago after Weigel Broadcasting took over the frequency to launch an oldies station in February. But the downsizing of sports on WGN opened the door for an early release from his contract, sources said.
His new show, “Kap and Co.,” will air noon to 2 p.m. beginning Sept. 16 on ESPN 1000, Kaplan said.
“I’m leaving a historic radio station where I spent almost 21 years of my life,” said Kaplan, 54. “I’m getting an opportunity to go to the four greatest letters in sports, E-S-P-N, in my hometown of Chicago. I consider myself the luckiest person in the world.”
The final WGN online/Comcast SportsNet simulcast of “Kap & Haugh” will air Sept. 11, according to a CSN spokesman. Kaplan’s roles as CSN host of “SportsTalk Live” and “Cubs Pre/Postgame Live” remain.
Kaplan’s departure follows the exit of Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano, who are ending their two-year run as midday hosts on WGN-AM 720 on Friday. The station is filling the husband-and-wife team’s noon-3 p.m. slot by extending the Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder late-morning show into afternoon.
Todd Manley, vice president of content and programming at Tribune Media’s WGN Radio, said Wednesday that the station was eliminating Sirott and Murciano’s show as “a matter of resources.”
WGN Radio had broadcast Cubs baseball for most of its 90-year history but lost the rights when the team signed a long-term deal with CBS Radio last year.
WGN has a 3.7 share, tied for fifth with iHeartMedia’s WGCI-FM 107.5 among Chicago listeners in August, according to Nielsen. WBBM-AM 780, which added the Cubs games to its news programming, is ranked third with a 4.6 share.
Kaplan’s new station, ESPN 1000, is ranked 25thwith a 1.4 share, according to Nielsen.
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